International Guidebook: Information for Families

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Alexa from Finland studies Nutrition and Dietetics

Getting a Social Security Number for a Spouse

Social Security Numbers can only be issued to those non-immigrants (those who are not citizens or permanent residents of the US) who have an official need for such numbers. A Social Security Number is not required for living in the US, but is used by the US government to withhold taxes from pay.  Spouses on F-2 visas are not eligible for work authorization and therefore cannot obtain a Social Security Number.


School for children begins at age 5 and is required by Pennsylvania law for children between the ages of 5 and 17. Parents with children under the age of 5 will find several child care options available including in-home care, family day care, group home day care, and child care centers. Prices will vary widely but can range up to $1,300 per month for full-time care for infants and toddlers.

For school-age children, parents may consider public or private education. Public education is free although there are charges for some after-school programs. Tuition will be charged for private education and may cost as much as $10,000-$15,000 per child, per year. To attend public schools, children must be in a dependent (F- 2) immigration status. If they are in a tourist status (B-1/B-2), they may not be allowed to enroll or may have to pay a fee.